A woman advertising faggots at her café called Fanny’s says Google removed the post – because it was ‘offensive’.
Jo Evans-Pring, 63, was promoting her award-winning funky retro music diner ‘Fanny’s Rest Stop Café’.
Self-confessed technophobe Jo turned to pal Chris Barnbrook for help – and the pair set up a website, Facebook page – and even began paying for adverts on Google.
Within just a few weeks, the mum-of-four, of Newport found that her business sales were soaring once again.
But one day after Jo posted a picture of faggots with peas and onion gravy on her website, she got an email from Google stating the advert had been removed.
In the email, Google cited their content policy explaining not to post anything that could be construed as “inappropriate and offensive content”.
Jo said that she was “absolutely startled by what’s happened” and claims “the world’s gone totally mad if people are getting worked up over that”.
She claimed: “People need to spend their time dealing with real problems, not things like whether or not the word ‘faggots’ when selling that meal is hateful.
“There comes a time where businesses need to reinvent themselves, and – after eight years of running the shop – I decided now was one of those times.
“I’m a complete technophobe, so I asked Chris to take care of posting stuff on the Internet for me.
“We set up a website, and a Facebook page, to attract the locals to the café .
“Fanny’s has been doing really well because of the Internet campaign. We’ve noticed a big change in the past couple of weeks.
“People have been coming from a little further afield because we’re paying for adverts when they google for places to eat.
“They’ve loved coming to Fanny’s because it’s fun and retro.
“I posted an advert on the website for Fanny’s faggots with peas and onion gravy, a pretty traditional meal and one of my favourites, on the 27th.
“But the next day I got an email from Google saying they’d removed a post of ours, and then referred us to their posting contents policy.
“Me and Chris had a look, and realised they’d moved the faggots one – and we couldn’t think it was for any reason other than it having the word ‘faggots’ in it.”
Fanny’s Rest Stop Café was even awarded a Certificate of Excellence 2019 prize, and has been scoring a consistent four-and-a-half stars, on TripAdvisor.
Faggots is a traditional dish, long popular in the English Midlands and South and Mid Wales, made from minced off-cuts and offal.
But the word ‘faggot’ was misconstrued by Google administrators to refer to the pejorative term of abuse referring to gay men.
Jo’s email read: “Your post was taken down.
“Recently, a post was removed from your Business Profile. To help ensure your posts create a positive experience for users, please review our content policy.”
Google can unilaterally remove content its administrators deem “inappropriate and offensive” – according to its content policy.
Their content policy page states: “Published content cannot promote hatred or incited violence against individuals or groups based on ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Content cannot be used to harass or bully individuals, including direct physical threats or exposing private information that could be used to carry out implied threats.
“Content that contains obscene, profane or offensive language or gestures.
“Images or video published on this service shouldn’t include nudity or sex acts.
“Content cannot include profanity, slang terms that are sexually graphic and offensive, terms that are common signals for pedophilia, content that promotes pedophilia, bestiality, sexual violence or content that promotes escort services or other services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation.
“Links to adult content are not permitted.”
Chris said: “I thought it would be ideal to promote the café to locals who might not have heard of Fanny’s Rest Stop Café.
“Not initially realising the power of Google and social media, Jo decided to invest a small amount in online promotion.
“This all worked very well and her business has been flourishing since.
“But after we posted the picture of the faggots dish, we got that Google mail saying they’d taken the content down.
“After going over their content policy, the only thing I could see was that it might have been thought of as obscene, profane, or offensive.
“We thought it might be for the word ‘faggots’ – which we felt was a bit ironic, as the café anyway is called Fanny’s.
“We were more amused by this more than anything else, but we’re finding it a little concerning now for what this means for businesses if words are policed.
Jo, who admits finding the row initially funny, has become infuriated by the decision, saying: “We were totally sidelined by it, to be honest.
“At first, we found it kind of funny. But ultimately we’re both furious by the decision.
“I don’t really associate the word ‘faggots’ with anything offensive, and yet someone has made a decision that’s affecting my livelihood.
“Thinking of all the nasty stuff that’s on the Internet, why are they wasting their time with Fanny’s Rest Stop Café?
“We’re just asking – what’s the world coming to?”
This content was originally published here.